World Intellectual Property Organization

Letters and Comment

June 2007

WIPO Magazine welcomes comments on issues raised in our article or on other developments in intellectual property. Send your comments to The Editor at WipoMagazine@wipo.int. Please include your postal address. We regret that it is not possible to publish all the letters we receive. The editor reserves the right to edit or shorten letters. (The author will be consulted if substantial editing is required.)


Winning the trust of the ‘digital natives’

The kids quoted in your article, Talking to the Download Generation (issue no. 2/2007), represent today’s "digital natives." These are the young people who grew up with mobile phones in their pockets, who are used to getting whatever content they want, however and whenever they want it - and for free. 

Edelman, a global public relations firm, recently commissioned research on 18-34 year olds in the U.K. and France, exploring attitudes and issues of trust towards the entertainment industry. Key amongst those findings: 41% of those surveyed in the U.K., and 54% in France, do not trust entertainment companies to provide "value for money."

When communicating messages of anti-piracy to this key demographic, companies need to address their potential top-of-mind question: "What value will I get if I buy something that I could download for free?" 

The answer and corresponding messages of ‘value for money’ can be articulated in a myriad of ways – such as the quality of the entertainment experience via better picture and sound, or the peace of mind knowing that you are not exposing your computer to viruses or your family to pornography, gateways opened through peer-to-peer file-sharing. In focus groups conducted in years past on behalf of clients, we found it was the parents’ experience of having to buy a new family computer due to virus infestation that often led them to ban their children from illegal downloading.

The good news is that 69% of respondents in the U.K. and 59% in France said they trusted the entertainment industry to make content widely and legally available online. That’s a significant departure from not so long ago. 

So if the first phase of education is to make consumers aware of the availability of legal content, then phase two is where the industry can build trust by leading on issues that these consumers really care about: changing business models to serve new technologies, leading the distribution revolution and demonstrating that "value for money" proposition.

Eight years of studying institutional trust has taught that institutions of all kinds have to listen to and participate in the public discussion of their actions, products and reputations. The entertainment industry is no different. 

From Gail Becker, Edelman, President, Western Region, Global Head of Digital Entertainment, Rights and Technology Practice, Los Angeles, U.S.A.
 
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Putting IP on the curriculum

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The graphic design students achieved an impressive level of IP knowledge. (Courtesy Y. Masó Dominico)

As a professor at the University of Tolosa in the state of Zacatecas, Mexico, and a regular subscriber to WIPO Magazine, I would like to share a positive experience in the teaching of IP. I am from Cuba, where previously I headed a regional office. When I came to Mexico, I was struck by the fact that, although a solid IP infrastructure existed at the federal level, IP matters went largely unnoticed among business and educational sectors in many states. In Zacatecas, for example, IP did not feature in university curricula, resulting in total ignorance among graduates about IP matters, which are so transcendental in today’s knowledge society. 

This year, it fell to me to teach the "Legal Framework of Design" on the graphic design course. But the curriculum, as originally conceived, was inadequate, only really dealing with copyright aspects. So I took on the challenge of overhauling the program, drawing on my experience both from Cuba and from WIPO courses.

While initially apprehensive about the apparent complexity of the subject matter, the students proved highly motivated and achieved an extraordinarily high level of IP knowledge. They also went out into the streets and canvassed people’s opinions, recording these on video. This way they saw for themselves the lack of understanding of IP rights in Zacatecas, and the way in which this not only undermines respect for creators’ rights, but also “justifies” the thriving piracy industry. The students derived great satisfaction from having learned so much about IP, but their research left them perturbed about the future of any state which keep its back turned to IP.

From Yordanka Masó Dominico, University of Tolosa, and Head of Lex Securus IP Services, Zacatecas, Mexico

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Training the trainers for the Hezarfen project (Courtesy - TPE)

“Time to do new things” in Turkey  

It is now two years since the report you published on the activities of our Turkish Patent Institute (TPE) (Turkish Patent Institute: Promoting Partnerships, Issue no. 6/2004), and your readers may be interested to hear about our latest project.

Project Hezarfen, which began in early 2006, tackles innovation promotion from both inside the TPE (improving our infrastructure, services and products) and outside (helping SME's to develop an innovation-based culture through the use of industrial property). We have a pilot project underway in one of the biggest industrial zones in Turkey, OSTIM OSB, which offers one-to-one SME consultancy services, advice on using IP information in each phase of innovation, and on the strategic use of IP in the innovation management process etc. Through this project, the TPE is developing its practical knowledge, enhancing communication with industry, and transforming knowledge into practice.

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Our project slogan, It’s time to do new things, paraphrases the words of the Turkish philosopher, Mevlana. The project itself is named after Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi, one of the first aviators to fly successfully with artificial wings, who flew across the Bosphorus in 1638. His name means "person who knows thousands of sciences" -which we interpret in our Hezarfen project as "SME's which know thousands of business strategies."

 

From Arife Yilmaz, Patent Examiner - Hezarfen Project Coordinator, Innovation Support Services, Turkish Patent Institute, Ankara

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P2P and the copyright challenge

In IP Infringements on the Internet – Some Legal Considerations(issue no. 1/2007) you suggest some countermeasures for copyright owners when their rights are infringed on the network. But with the extensive application of peer-to-peer (P2P) technology, those recommendations are not enough to safeguard their rights. 

P2P technology changes the traditional client/server information transfer mode as users download and share information with P2P software. Copyright-protected content is not stored in central servers, but in the computers of every P2P user, making thousands of users direct infringers. Deciding where to sue is also difficult. An Internet Service Provider (ISP) in China may be sued by a rights owner in the U.S. for supplying copyright-protected music on its website. But it would be unimaginable to sue numerous individual Chinese students for downloading a song with P2P software, even if  the ISP was willing to provide their identity. Infringers may be all over the world, and the cost for copyright owners of safeguarding their rights may far exceed their financial means.

Developments in network technology break the balance between right owners and the public established by the current copyright system. It is very difficult to solve this problem through legal means alone. Technical means, such as Digital Rights Management systems and the Creative Commons system, need also be utilized and developed to eliminate the conflict between the two sides.

From Cheng Zhaoqi, Student, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China

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